A Wife for Isaac
1Abraham was now a very old man. The Lord had made him rich, and he was successful in everything he did. 2One day, Abraham called in his most trusted servant and said to him, “Solemnly promise me 3in the name of the Lord, who rules heaven and earth, that you won't choose a wife for my son Isaac from the people here in the land of Canaan. 4Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for him from among my relatives.”
5But the servant asked, “What if the young woman I choose refuses to leave home and come here with me? Should I send Isaac there to look for a wife?”
6“No!” Abraham answered. “Don't ever do that, no matter what. 7The Lord who rules heaven brought me here from the land where I was born and promised that he would give this land to my descendants forever. When you go back there, the Lord will send his angel ahead of you to help you find a wife for my son. 8If the woman refuses to come along, you don't have to keep this promise. But don't ever take my son back there.” 9So the servant gave Abraham his word that he would do everything he had been told to do.
10Soon after that, the servant loaded ten of Abraham's camels with valuable gifts. Then he set out for the city in northern Syria,#24.10 northern Syria: The Hebrew text has “Aram-Naharaim,” probably referring to the land around the city of Haran (see also 25.20; 28.2,6; 31.18,20; 33.18; 35.23-26; 46.8-15 where CEV translates “Paddan-Aram” as “northern Syria”; and 48.7 where CEV translates “Paddan” as “northern Syria”). where Abraham's brother Nahor lived.
11When he got there, he let the camels rest near the well outside the city. It was late afternoon, the time when the women came out for water. 12The servant prayed:
You, Lord, are the God my master Abraham worships. Please keep your promise to him and let me find a wife for Isaac today. 13The young women of the city will soon come to this well for water, 14and I'll ask one of them for a drink. If she gives me a drink and then offers to get some water for my camels, I'll know she is the one you have chosen and that you have kept your promise to my master.
15-16While he was still praying, a beautiful unmarried young woman came by with a water jar on her shoulder. She was Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife Milcah. Rebekah walked past Abraham's servant, then went over to the well, and filled her water jar. When she started back, 17Abraham's servant ran to her and said, “Please let me have a drink of water.”
18“I'll be glad to,” she answered. Then she quickly took the jar from her shoulder and held it while he drank. 19-20After he had finished, she said, “Now I'll give your camels all the water they want.” She quickly poured out water for them, and she kept going back for more, until his camels had drunk all they wanted. 21Abraham's servant did not say a word, but he watched everything Rebekah did, because he wanted to know for certain if this was the woman the Lord had chosen.
22The servant had brought along an expensive gold ring and two large gold bracelets. When Rebekah had finished bringing the water, he gave her the ring for her nose#24.22 ring for her nose: Nose-rings were popular jewelry items, as were earrings. and the bracelets for her arms. 23Then he said, “Please tell me who your father is. Does he have room in his house for me and my men to spend the night?”
24She answered, “My father is Bethuel, the son of Nahor and Milcah. 25We have a place where you and your men can stay, and we also have enough straw and feed for your camels.”
26Then the servant bowed his head and prayed, 27“I thank you, Lord God of my master Abraham! You have led me to his relatives and kept your promise to him.”
28Rebekah ran straight home and told her family everything. 29-30Her brother Laban heard her tell what the servant had said, and he saw the ring and the bracelets she was wearing. So Laban ran out to Abraham's servant, who was standing by his camels at the well. 31Then Laban said, “The Lord has brought you safely here. Come home with me. There's no need for you to keep on standing outside. I have a room ready for you in our house, and there's also a place for your camels.”
32Abraham's servant went home with Laban, where Laban's servants unloaded his camels and gave them straw and feed. Then they brought water into the house, so Abraham's servant and his men could wash their feet. 33After that, they brought in food. But the servant said, “Before I eat, I must tell you why I have come.”
“Go ahead and tell us,” Laban answered.
34The servant explained:
I am Abraham's servant. 35The Lord has been good to my master and has made him very rich. He has given him many sheep, goats, cattle, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of silver and gold, and many slaves. 36Sarah, my master's wife, didn't have any children until she was very old. Then she had a son, and my master has given him everything. 37I solemnly promised my master that I would do what he said. And he told me, “Don't choose a wife for my son from the women in this land of Canaan. 38Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for my son from among my relatives.”
39I asked my master, “What if the young woman refuses to come with me?”
40My master answered, “I have always obeyed the Lord, and he will send his angel to help you find my son a wife from among my own relatives. 41But if they refuse to let her come back with you, then you are freed from your promise.”
42When I came to the well today, I silently prayed, “You, Lord, are the God my master Abraham worships, so please lead me to a wife for his son 43while I am here at the well. When a young woman comes out to get water, I'll ask her to give me a drink. 44If she gives me a drink and offers to get some water for my camels, I'll know she is the one you have chosen.”
45Even before I had finished praying, Rebekah came by with a water jar on her shoulder. When she had filled the jar, I asked her for a drink. 46She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and said, “Have a drink. Then I'll get water for your camels.” So I drank, and after that she got some water for my camels. 47I asked her who her father was, and she answered, “My father is Bethuel the son of Nahor and Milcah.” At once I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48Then I bowed my head and gave thanks to the God my master Abraham worships. The Lord had led me straight to my master's relatives, and I had found a wife for his son.
49Now please tell me if you are willing to do the right thing for my master. Will you treat him fairly, or do I have to look for another young woman?
50Laban and Bethuel answered, “The Lord has done this. We have no choice in the matter. 51Take Rebekah with you; she can marry your master's son, just as the Lord has said.” 52Abraham's servant bowed down and thanked the Lord. 53Then he gave clothing, as well as silver and gold jewelry, to Rebekah. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and her mother.
54Abraham's servant and the men with him ate and drank, then spent the night there. The next morning they got up, and the servant told Rebekah's mother and brother, “I would like to go back to my master now.”
55“Let Rebekah stay with us for a week or ten days,” they answered. “Then she may go.”
56But he said, “Don't make me stay any longer. The Lord has already helped me find a wife for my master's son. Now let us return.”
57They answered, “Let's ask Rebekah what she wants to do.” 58They called her and asked, “Are you willing to leave with this man at once?”
“Yes,” she answered.
59So they agreed to let Rebekah and an old family servant woman#24.59 old family servant woman: Probably Deborah, who had taken care of Rebekah from the time she was born (see 35.8). leave immediately with Abraham's servant and his men. 60They gave Rebekah their blessing and said, “We pray that God will give you many children and grandchildren and that he will help them defeat their enemies.” 61Afterwards, Rebekah and the young women who were to travel with her prepared to leave. Then they got on camels and left with Abraham's servant and his men.
62At that time Isaac was living in the southern part of Canaan near a place called “The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.”#24.62 Who Sees Me: Or “I Have Seen.” 63-65One evening he was walking#24.63-65 walking: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. out in the fields, when suddenly he saw a group of people approaching on camels. So he started toward them. Rebekah saw him coming; she got down from her camel, and asked, “Who is that man?”
“He is my master Isaac,” the servant answered. Then Rebekah covered her face with her veil.#24.63-65 covered … veil: Since the veiling of a bride was part of the wedding ceremony, this probably means that she was willing to become the wife of Isaac.
66The servant told Isaac everything that had happened.
67Isaac took Rebekah into the tent#24.67 took … tent: This shows that Rebekah is now the wife of Isaac and the successor of Sarah as the leading woman in the tribe. where his mother had lived before she died, and Rebekah became his wife. He loved her and was comforted over the loss of his mother.
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1 Now Abraham was old and of many days. And the Lord had blessed him in all things.
2 And he said to the elder servant of his house, who was in charge of all that he had: "Place your hand under my thigh,
3 so that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live.
4 But that you will proceed to my land and kindred, and from there take a wife for my son Isaac."
5 The servant responded, "If the woman is not willing to come with me into this land, must I lead your son back to the place from which you departed?"
6 And Abraham said: "Beware that you never lead my son back to that place.
7 The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my nativity, who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, 'To your offspring I will give this land,' himself will send his Angel before you, and you will take from there a wife for my son.
8 But if the woman is not willing to follow you, you will not be held by the oath. Only do not lead my son back to that place."
9 Therefore, the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham, his lord, and he swore to him on his word.
10 And he took ten camels from his lord's herd, and he went forth, carrying with him things from all of his goods. And he set out, and continued on, to the city of Nahor, in Mesopotamia.
11 And when he had made the camels lie down outside of the town, near a well of water, in the evening, at the time when women are accustomed to go out to draw water, he said:
12 "O Lord, the God of my lord Abraham, meet with me today, I beg you, and show mercy to my lord Abraham.
13 Behold, I stand near the fountain of water, and the daughters of the inhabitants of this city will go forth to draw water.
14 Therefore, the girl to whom I will say, 'Tip your pitcher, so that I may drink,' and she will respond, 'Drink. In fact, I will give your camels a drink also,' the same one is she whom you have prepared for your servant Isaac. And by this, I will understand that you have shown mercy to my lord."
15 But he had not yet completed these words within himself, when, behold, Rebekah went out, the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, the brother of Abraham, having a pitcher on her shoulder.
16 She was an exceedingly elegant girl, and a most beautiful virgin, and unknown by man. And she descended to the spring, and she filled her pitcher, and then was returning.
17 And the servant ran to meet her, and he said, "Provide me with a little water to drink from your pitcher."
18 And she responded, "Drink, my lord." And she quickly brought down the pitcher on her arm, and she gave him a drink.
19 And after he drank, she added, "In fact, I will draw water for your camels also, until they all drink."
20 And pouring out the pitcher into the troughs, she ran back to the well to draw water; and having drawn, she gave it to all the camels.
21 But he was contemplating her silently, wanting to know whether the Lord had caused his journey to prosper or not
22 Then, after the camels drank, the man took out gold earrings, weighing two shekels, and the same number of bracelets, ten shekels in weight.
23 And he said to her: "Whose daughter are you? Tell me, is there any place in your father's house to lodge?"
24 She responded, "I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, to whom she gave birth for Nahor."
25 And she continued, saying, "There is very much straw and hay with us, and a spacious place to stay."
26 The man bowed himself down, and he adored the Lord,
27 saying, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of my lord Abraham, who has not taken away his mercy and truth from my lord, and who has led me on a direct journey to the house of the brother of my lord."
28 And so the girl ran, and she reported all that she had heard in the house of her mother.
29 Now Rebekah had a brother, named Laban, who went out quickly to the man, where the spring was.
30 And when he had seen the earrings and bracelets in his sister's hands, and he had heard all the words being repeated, "This is what the man spoke to me," he came to the man who stood by the camels and near the spring of water,
31 and he said to him: "Enter, O blessed of the Lord. Why do you stand outside? I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels."
32 And he brought him into his guest quarters. And he unharnessed the camels, and he distributed straw and hay, and water to wash his feet and that of the men who arrived with him.
33 And bread was set out in his sight. But he said, "I will not eat, until I have spoken my words." He answered him, "Speak."
34 Then he said: "I am the servant of Abraham.
35 And the Lord has blessed my lord greatly, and he has become great. And he has given him sheep and oxen, silver and gold, men servants and women servants, camels and donkeys.
36 And Sarah, the wife of my lord, has given birth to a son for my lord in her old age, and he has given him all that he had.
37 And my lord made me swear, saying: 'You shall not take a wife for my son from the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell.
38 But you shall travel to my father's house, and you shall take a wife of my own kindred for my son.'
39 But truly, I answered my lord, 'What if the woman is not willing to come with me?'
40 'The Lord,' he said, 'in whose sight I walk, will send his Angel with you, and he will direct your way. And you shall take a wife for my son from my own kindred and from my father's house.
41 But you will be innocent of my curse, if, when you will arrive at my close relatives, they will not grant this to you.'
42 And so, today I arrived at the well of water, and I said: 'O Lord, the God of my lord Abraham, if you have directed my way, in which I now walk,
43 behold, I stand next to the well of water, and the virgin, who will go forth to draw water, will hear from me, "Give me a little water to drink from your pitcher."
44 And she will say to me, "You drink, and I will also draw for your camels." Let the same be the woman, whom the Lord has prepared for the son of my lord.'
45 And while I thought over these things silently within myself, Rebekah appeared, arriving with a pitcher, which she carried on her shoulder. And she descended to the spring and drew water. And I said to her, 'Give me a little to drink.'
46 And she quickly let down the pitcher from her arm, and said to me, 'You drink, and to your camels I will also distribute drinking water.' I drank, and she watered the camels.
47 And I questioned her, saying, 'Whose daughter are you?' And she responded, 'I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to him.' And so, I hung the earrings on her, to adorn her face, and I put the bracelets on her hands.
48 And falling prostrate, I adored the Lord, blessing the Lord, the God of my lord Abraham, who has led me along the straight path so as to take the daughter of my lord's brother to his son.
49 For this reason, if you would act according to mercy and truth with my lord, tell me so. But if it pleases you otherwise, say that to me also, so that I may go either to the right, or to the left."
50 And Laban and Bethuel responded: "A word has proceeded from the Lord. We are not able to speak anything else to you, beyond what pleases him.
51 Lo, Rebekah is in your sight. Take her and continue on, and let her be the wife of the son of your lord, just as the Lord has spoken."
52 When Abraham's servant had heard this, falling down to the ground, he adored the Lord.
53 And bringing forth vessels of silver and gold, as well as garments, he gave them to Rebekah as a tribute. Likewise, he offered gifts to her brothers and her mother.
54 And a banquet began, and they feasted and drank together, and they lodged there. And rising up in the morning, the servant said, "Release me, so that I may go to my lord."
55 And her brothers and mother responded, "Let the girl remain for at least ten days with us, and after that, she will continue on."
56 "Do not be willing," he said, "to delay me, for the Lord has directed my way. Release me, so that I may journey to my lord."
57 And they said, "Let us call the girl, and ask her will."
58 And when, having been called, she arrived, they wanted to know, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go."
59 Therefore, they released her and her nurse, and the servant of Abraham and his companions,
60 wishing prosperity for their sister, by saying: "You are our sister. May you increase to thousands of thousands. And may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies."
61 And so, Rebekah and her maids, riding upon camels, followed the man, who quickly returned to his lord.
62 Then, at the same time, Isaac was walking along the way that leads to the well, whose name is: 'of the One who lives and who sees.' For he dwelt in the southern land.
63 And he had gone out to meditate in the field, as daylight was now declining. And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw camels advancing from afar.
64 Likewise, Rebekah, having seen Isaac, descended from the camel.
65 And she said to the servant, "Who is that man who advances to meet us through the field?" And he said to her, "That is my lord." And so, quickly taking up her cloak, she covered herself.
66 Then the servant explained to Isaac all that he had done.
67 And he led her into the tent of Sarah his mother, and he accepted her as wife. And he loved her so very much, that it tempered the sorrow which befell him at his mother's death.